Reaching the world through prayer and encouragement.
It was Friday, May 25th 2007, in Philadelphia, PA., the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, Christians from all over the city got out on the street corners and prayed for one hour from 7 to 8 pm that night. On Tuesday morning, in the Phila Enquire, there was an article written and it said “Homicide takes a holiday.” The article mentioned that in a city that averages one homicide a day and multiple homicides every weekend, for some strange, inexplicable reason, on that weekend, from Friday to Monday, there was not one homicide! Now the writer of the article attempted to come up with various reasons as to why it could have happened but admitted that he was at a loss for a good reason for why there was not one homicide that whole weekend. Well if you know God like I know God, then you know why it happened. It was because people all over the city got out on the street corners and in unity, lifted up their voices before God and God honored their prayers. There’s power in prayer!
Now, were there homicides after that weekend? Yes, it went right back to the way it was. You see, they only prayed just that one time. God honored that moment in time to demonstrate what He could do, and would do, consistently, if we would pray consistently.
Prayer deepens our relationship with God and connects us to His power and strength. What we do on our knees privately in the presence of God, prepares us for what God wants to do through us publically in the presence of others.
Many people misunderstand prayer and many preachers are guilty of contributing to this misunderstanding. Many preachers preach from
●Matt 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
And these preachers will get us focused on this one scripture on prayer. What happens is, if we leave that scripture by itself, we are lead to think that all I have to do is believe and I shall receive. Now that’s good but to get a full understanding, don’t stop at just that one scripture because there’s a little more to it than just believe and receive.
●John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
There are people asking but they haven’t met the qualifications yet. What are the qualifications? If you abide in me and my word abides in you. There are people trying to pick all the goodies out of His word without meeting His qualifications first.
●1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
●1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
If we’re in His word, and His word is in us, and we’re living for God, our prayers will be according to His will. It will be dealing with His Kingdom. It won’t be Lord, give me give me. It will sound something like this: Lord, deliver that person from addiction. Lord, mend that marriage back together.
Lord, pull that person out of the hands of the prince of darkness into Your marvelous light. Lord, don’t let my child be lost. Lord, give us revival, let there be a mighty outpouring of your Spirit. Lord, fill my neighbor, my coworker, my friend, my family member with the Holy Ghost. You’re praying in His will.
One type of praying in the will of God is intercessory prayer, when all of a sudden, you get this urge to pray for someone with tears and groanings, many times in the middle of the night. An intercessor carries a spiritual "beeper," on call 24-hours day to receive a prayer assignment anytime or anyplace. Many places have been transformed into prayer closets when receiving a call from the throne of God. The Lord may reveal that someone has a great need, but He may conceal the contents of that need. However, we are encouraged to intercede until the burden lifts.
●2 Cor 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Prayer is a weapon of spiritual warfare. It activates the power of God! We can tear down strongholds with prayer! We can destroy yokes with prayer! We can put the devil on the run with prayer! Make no mistake about it, never is a man or woman more dangerous to the kingdom of darkness than when they go before God in prayer.
●2 Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
It says “If”my people…one of the things the text points out is that in prayer, the variable is us. IF….the if is not on God. The question is not can God do it, can God fix it, can God make a way out of no way, will God do it. The question is not will God save my husband, my wife, will God save my children, will God heal my body because He already said, “I will”, the question is will God’s people pray.
Do we believe God can do it? Do we trust God enough to get down on our knees and pray? Do we believe God enough that instead of worrying about it, we pray about it? Do we believe God enough to know that if we pray, He will save our children? Do we believe God enough to know that if we pray consistently, He will save our wife/husband? Do we believe God enough to know that if we pray, we will see revival? If my people will pray; and when we pray, it makes a difference because there’s power in prayer!
And then it say if “My People” Now God honors prayer but if we want our prayer life to be really effective, there are some prerequisites; we have to have a relationship with Him, He’s got to know who we are. We’ve got to be living right, doing the right thing. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman availeth much.
2 Chron 7:14 goes on to say, and….seek my face! He didn’t say seek my stuff, He said seek my face. There’s a difference between seeking His stuff and seeking His face. Seeking His stuff is seeking what can God give me, what can God do for me. Seeking His face is simply seeking His presence in your life. God I’m not asking for stuff, I’m just asking for you. Lord, I don’t just want your stuff, Lord, I want you. Lord, I need you, I need you to walk with me, I need to work with me, I need you to be with me. I need your presence in my life, I seek your face. Let me share a secret with you. If you seek God’s presence, the stuff and things automatically comes with Him.
●Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Everything we need is in His presence. If we can get into the presence of God, if we can get God’s presence into our lives, we’ll have everything we need. If we need healing, in His presence we’ll have our healing. If we need help with a decision, in His presence we’ll have divine counselling. The love that we need is in the presence of God. The peace that we need is in the presence of God. The joy that we need is in the presence of God. In fact, we’ll have joy in abundance; we’ll have fullness of joy! Whatever we need, God’s got it and we can find it, in His presence.
And then 2 Chron 7:14says, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins, and will heal their land. I’m still convinced that God is able to heal the land. I still believe that our children can live for God successfully. I still believe that God can bring back the backslider. I still believe that God can take that sickness away. I still believe that God is a healer, that God can provide, that God can turn it all around. I still believe that He can do exceedingly, abundantly, above, all that we can ask or think. I still believe that prayer makes a difference because there’s power in prayer!
●2 Cor 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: I want to focus on the first five words, “And He said unto me.” God spoke to Paul. Paul heard from God. How many know that if we haven’t heard from God then we haven’t really communicated with Him. The prayer process is not complete until we’ve heard from God. I haven’t finished praying until I’ve heard from God. If we’re doing all the talking and not allowing Him to talk to us, we’re missing a major part of prayer!
I need to hear from God! I need a word from God! I need God to speak into my life. I need God to clarify some stuff, I need God to give me direction, I need to know which way to turn, I need to know how to handle this situation, speak to me Lord!
So don’t give up, keep praying. Don’t give up on your family, keep praying; don’t give up on your husband, keep praying; don’t give up on your wife, don’t give up on your children, don’t give up on that situation, don’t give up on yourself, keep praying because there’s power in prayer.
Sixty-four years ago, on June 18, 1956, a freak accident happened on a lake in New York. A speeding motorboat bounced on a wave and shot into the water two of its passengers, a 50-year old man a little girl. To keep the little girl from drowning , the man held her head above water while the boat circled back. They rescued the girl, but the man sank and drowned.
That’s how Dawson Trotman died, the founder of the Navigators, an international discipleship ministry. According to a quote in Time Magazine, “He lived to save others. He death was just the way he would have planned it.” “It is said that his obituary reads like this: “Dawson Trotman, always lifting someone up.”
The Duke of Wellington, a famous military leader who defeated Napoleon was asked at the end of his life if he had any regrets. He said that if he had a regret it was that he did not give more praise. Someone once said “flatter me and I may not believe you, criticise me and I may not like you, ignore me and I may not forgive you, praise me and I will not forget you.” There is something about praise and encouragement that, although we may find hard to believe or accept, never leaves our hearts or minds. Today, I want to encourage you to become an encourager. To be one of those people who encourage others on to greater things in the kingdom of God.
I want you to note first of all that his name was ‘Joseph.’ His parents had called him Joseph but he was given the nickname ‘Barnabas’ –which meant ‘son of encouragement.’ Bar = ‘son of.’ ‘Nabas’ was Hebrew referring to a prophetic exhortation which encouraged or built people up. We know also from this text that he was a Levite. That is, he was from the priestly tribe of Israel. We learn that he was from Cyprus.
Pastor L. Hester
1. Prayer is talking to God (Not meditation or passive reflection)
2. Prayer is communication between the human soul and the Lord who created the soul
3. All prayers must be done in faith. Prayer demands faith from us. It must be done in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ from the start to the end.
4. Prayer must be done in the nature and character of the Lord Jesus Christ in the essence/character of who Jesus Is.
5. We can not pray prayers that are housed in unforgiveness.
6. Prayers to be heard by God must be done in the nature of God and in the spirit and power of God.
7. Those that are filled with the Spirit of God, the Spirit prays through us to the Father Almighty God.
8. He (God) is the director of our Prayers.
9. There is a dimension that you can get through when you are filled with the power of the Almighty God.
10.He (God) is the director of our prayers.
11.Prayer is the antidote to anxiety. When we get to a place in prayer and unburden our soul, something comes down and lift burdens and cancels anxiety.
12.When he (God) comes in our prayer, he bathes our spirit with a confidence that only the Holy Spirit can give.
13.Prayer brings us to a place to believe in the almighty God.
14.Prayer is not about our skills of public speaking. Its not a public demonstration.
15.Prayer for those who abide in the word of God, (all day long every day) gives us the right and privilege and it shall be done.
16.There needs to be always an attitude of prayer in our spirit (on our life).
17.When we live there, we are always kept by the Spirit of God.
18.There’s a place in prayer where words are not adequate. God knows and he understands every groan that comes out of your spirit.
19. People who maintain an attitude of pray throughout the day lives victoriously.
Supporting Scriptures: (Hebrews 12:1-2 and Hebrews 11: 33-40)
Those are the great cloud of witnesses that are encouraging us this morning. They endured and remained faithful even though they never received the promise of the coming Savior, which is Jesus. They were going on a promise that it would happen. Because the word said it was enough for them.
Every time I read this passage, I envision a football stadium and the stands are full of these witnesses as they look at us on the football field of life. They are cheering, clapping, singing and encouraging us to keep going and don’t give up!
I want to encourage us this morning to stay faithful to God and the things of God. We may face trials, temptations; we may laugh sometimes and other times cry, but remain faithful.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy WILL come in the morning!
I want to encourage everyone that is on this prayer line as well as myself, when you feel like giving up, when you feel like giving in, when you feel discouraged and weight of this world is on your shoulders, just remember what those before us went through. They are in heaven cheering us on. They are looking down saying, “Child of God you can make” “He that promised is faithful” “There are better days ahead” “Fight one more round” “Fight for your soul” “Fight for your family” “Fight for your neighbors” “Fight for lost souls.”
If we keep our eyes on this world, we will become distracted and disillusioned, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, then we can all make it together.
We are our brothers and sisters keeper! So, you encourage me this morning and I will encourage you to keep believing, keep standing on the word of God, keep standing on the promises of God they are still Yes and Amen, keep praying, keep witnessing, keep teaching bible studies, stay in the race, remain faithful.
The race is not given to the swift or to the strong, but those that endure and remain faithful to the end.
As we honor the birthday and legacy of Ms. Sarah Patterson today, I know she is one of the great cloud of witnesses, looking down on this morning saying, “It will all be worth it in the end!”
Be encouraged this morning and remain faithful, He that said He will would come, will come and will not tarry!!
Supporting scripture: Matthew 5:1-16
As Jesus began to open His mouth, His words began to flow into the hearts of His followers to let them know that they, as SALT and LIGHT of the World, these are the characteristics that must be reflected in the lives and behavior of all Saints. The world today is rotten, decayed, and full of fear and darkness with the pandemic of COVID-19 and increased worldwide wickedness. But our job is not be isolated from the world, but to be salt of the earth and light of the world: Salt works only on contact to season, heal, cure, keep and prolong life. Light dispels, cast out, and remove darkness. These two are the most important and most powerful natural elements in the world. Salt is valuable and powerful as shown both in history and the Bible, it can be either a blessing or cruse. Men have been paid wages with salt tablets. Community and nations have been developed and built with salt. Salt is used to melt the ice and snow on the highways and roads. Wars have been fought with bombs and bullets made from salt. Salt was even used for embalming the dead. Almost every major form of medicine is made with a pinch of salt. People used salt to preserve fresh meat soaked in salt when they had no refrigeration. The metal of the engines in cars is protected from melting with salt. Salt is in almost everything in life, the food, water, land, and air. Cheapskate.com says there are more than 15,000 ways salt can be used every day in the home, industry, and hospitals. Salt is a chemical formula of NaC1 known as sodium chloride. If you separate the sodium the chloride it will be explosive and deadly. Morton table salt is not real salt. It is white, looks pretty, and tastes good, but bad for our health because it is the result of man’s effort to make his own salt. Natural salt is healthy and necessary for life both by man and nature. Without salt, we cannot live! The fluids in our bodies would not be regulated and bones would no structural support.
So, when Jesus said we are the SALT and LIGHT, He is telling us that we have the power and ability to be more than natural salt and the natural light because we are the spiritual salt and spiritual light of the world. No man can ever change the nature of salt nor light. They are unchangeable and so are we as witnesses and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
We do not need to shake salt on salt but shake the salt on those who need healing, deliverance, and salvation. We do not need to shine the light on the light, but let our lights shine to light up the whole house, city, and world of darkness! Darkness cannot cast out the darkness. Only light can cast our darkness and our world is in need of the light of God shining through our lives and conduct. We need to work as light and salt works to win the lost for Christ. Light does not complain about the darkness and it does even beg the darkness to go away. Light quietly and effectively shine and darkness is castaway! Turn the light switch on in a dark room and watch how the light works! Salt melts ice, and when we come in contact with people who are cold or lukewarm in their faith, our salt needs to melt the ice and bring them to the fire of the Holy Ghost with the Love of God. When roads of life become slippery and dangerous, salt must provide more secure traction on the highway of holiness. Salt works quietly and quickly to heal, save, and deliver without making a big deal and a lot of noise. My grandfather had a large block of salt amid his farm for the animals to lick. After licking the salt, they would automatically go to the water and drink. We should live our lives like a block of salt so that everyone who meets us will be made thirsty for more of Jesus! If you can not get them saved, leave them thirsty!
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